Digital and collectable fantasy football company Sorare have partnered with Major League Soccer (MLS) to become their official non-fungible token (NFT) fantasy provider.
Paris-based Sorare is a sports blockchain company that allows players to trade official digital collectibles while ‘making cryptocurrency fun and accessible through fantasy football.’ Players can collect, trade and play fantasy football with tokens representative of the real-life performance of the professionals on the pitch.
Launched in 2018, Sorare already count Spain’s La Liga and Germany’s Bundesliga among their portfolio, and hold individual licences for clubs including Liverpool, Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus. Barcelona veteran Gerard Pique is a strategic advisor, while investors include Antoine Griezmann, Rio Ferdinand and Cesar Azpilicueta.
The MLS partnership follows the opening of Sorare’s North American office at the end of last year, made possible by a Series B funding round that saw the company’s value rise to $5.7 billion AUD in September 2021.
“We are excited to welcome Major League Soccer as our latest partner. Our global community of sports fans are eager to start collecting and playing with their favourite teams and players from the league,” Sorare Chief Operating Officer Ryan Spoon said.
“From collectors to first-time NFT buyers, our NFT x fantasy model uniquely engages fans with the sport they love in a way that goes beyond just spectating, and makes them feel truly connected to each team, player and game.”
Investment in Sorare’s September funding round was led by Japanese conglomerate SoftBank, with their chief executive Marcelo Claure joining Sorare’s board of directors. Venture capital companies Atomico, Bessemer Venture Partners and D1 Capital Partners were among other investors, with the round netting Sorare $908 million AUD
Following the acquisition of La Liga’s NFT rights in the same month, the company announced their intention to hold the rights for world football’s top 20 leagues by the end of 2022.
Whether this could also include Australia’s A-Leagues competition remains to be seen, however Australian Professional Leagues Managing Director Danny Townsend told Soccerscene in February that the league was exploring entry into the NFT Fantasy space.
“This is an emerging proposition all sports need to engage with and develop an understanding of, especially with the pace it’s moving at. One thing we’ve noticed through the fantasy process is the NFTs, or tokenisation, of fantasy competitions is coming to the forefront,” Townsend said.
“What we don’t want to do is build an analogue fantasy product knowing there is a digital one right around the corner. We were way down the road on a fantasy product to launch this year and we’re still committed to doing that, it just may be a different form to include a degree of tokenisation.”